Reading this article in the Prince George Citizen outlining the contract of the UNBC president and some of the reasons for the departure of the previous UNBC president, I was struck by this sentence: “The Citizen has also learned UNBC agreed to continue waiving tuition fees for Cozzetto’s son for the purpose of completing the final three years of his undergraduate degree, if he wishes to remain.”
This is another university presidential perk that I am not comfortable with. Sure the cost is relatively minor compared to other perks in these contracts, but the symbolism is important to me.
The university president has a great deal of influence over tuition costs for students. (Officially Boards of Governors set fees, but most boards amount to little more than rubber-stamp social clubs in these matters.) For the president to be immune to paying the tuition sends a bad message – why does he get a free ride when others don’t and why shouldn’t his family have to budget for increasing tuition like some many others?
As I said, it’s only symbolic. With university presidents continuing to see ridiculous pay increases way out of line with inflation, they will never actually have to be concerned with the cost of tuition – no matter if they have to pay it or not.